Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Erawan Natyional Park

25th February 2010

I always think that my travel blog should detail interesting points of our travel. For this trip to Thailand and the 5 relating write ups that I have posted up, I've talk of nothing but birds. Really give an wrong impression that I am head over heals about birds. Never mind, I am just writing about what came to my mind. A bit long winded perhaps, bear with me, this should be the last of the series.

Beside the Bridge Over the River Kwai, there is another famous name that is also an icon for Kanchanaburi province - Erawan. Don't know what that word means in Thai, we were landed in the National Park of the Erawan. Our driver too was unfamiliar with the place. For me, they had made minor alteration to the entrance which also threw off my sense of recognition. Anyway we parked and started walking before the main throng arrived.

There was a bird wave at the car park but happening too high at the canopy level.

We were there early at 8.00 am and the crowd fair, the starting stretch of track was one making us walk over broken stone. Here, calls stopped us and got our day going. Common but good to know that they were in abundance. This was where the Bulbuls and Tit-babbler were active. Hungry for pictures in the morning, we hope to get a good start.

Next, after a short distance of 100 meters, we returned to paved road, scene changed to one of a heavily forested portion with the river proper running beside. There the tiny bird wave was monopolized by the Monarch.

Moving on to the first waterfall, right at the spot with lots of tourist, this resident was confidently perched , waiting for us to pick him up.

While we were busy clicking away for better and better close-ups, the mate joined him at the opposite bank. She had her own agenda which we later fund out was - needing a morning bath. If you can make out the dark image against that of the rock.

The rest of my time was spent chasing after Flycatchers. There was this one with heavily mottled face.

There were other Flycatchers that I encountered that were in a more advance stage of development. And with light rufous appearing over its breast.
Soon it was time to leave the waterfall area and back into the car park. That's the time we met this black-hooded Oriole in full view and spending some time with us. Perched high and against the bright afternoon sky, photography was a tricky business.
Along the way out, the countryside scene on both sides of the road appeared to be well stocked with birds. Here are some of the birds that we stopped the car to record. A Wood swallow that looked familiar but with a shade on its breast.  

I was disappointed that this turned out to be a Crested Treeswift and not the Grey-rumped that I was hoping for.

Green Ioras were abound among the road side scrubs. Typical of all Ioras, lots of calls and scattered in the small confine giving a false impression of the area having good bird life.

While we passed an small area of padifields, I saw a flock of birds foraging among the new crop. About 15 birds, I shouted Ibis.

The van shot passed that spot and we turned the van around for closer inspection, the birds that we had earlier spot and a quick glimpse turned out to be Stork and not Ibis. Rather odd looking Stork, we opened the door and got out of the car for our picture. That was the time the whole flock took flight.

It was only after checking the bird guide that we confirmed these were Openbill. A lifer for all of us.
It was our lack of knowledge that threw away our chances of getting good and proper pictures for the Openbills.
Overall I personally was taken by surprise that this forest route which was much greener than all the routes taken during our trip was so productive. I take back my words that they are few birds seen in our drive through the Thai country side

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